England hold nerve to win on penalties after Lauren James sent off for stamp


By Tom Garry, women’s football reporter at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

England survived a huge scare to reach the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals as they overcame Lauren James’s sending off to beat Nigeria 4-2 on penalties.

The European champions had been second best for much of this last-16 contest in Brisbane and looked on course for a shock early exit from the tournament when James was shown a straight red card for stamping on Michelle Alozie. The prospect of England’s earliest World Cup elimination for 20 years loomed large.

But after Georgia Stanway dragged England’s first spot-kick wide, Bethany England, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood and Chloe Kelly all dispatched their penalties superbly to send England through to face either Colombia or Jamaica in the last eight on Saturday. Substitute Desire Oparanozie and then Alozie both fired off target for Nigeria, from their first two penalty kicks. It is the first time England have ever won a penalty shootout at a Women’s World Cup.

Full report to follow

England ride their luck to reach World Cup last eight – as it happened

12:30 PM BST

Sarina Wiegman’s post-match thoughts

We stuck together as a team. It was a very, very hard game and we had a red card. We made it through to extra-time and won the penalties. We did that as a team. We kept going. I’m so proud of them.

It’s a game where emotions are really high, the intensity is so high and it happened in a split second. She got a red card but I haven’t seen it back yet. Those things are also [down to] experience.

It says so much about the character of our team [to hold on and win on pens]. I’m so proud of them. We said before it would not be an easy game, they’re very physical, and tactically difficult. That’s what we saw. We made it through and I’m so happy.

12:18 PM BST

The president of the FA speaks

12:16 PM BST

Sarina Wiegman’s thoughts are coming soon

At half-time of Australia’s match against Denmark to be precise, which hs another two minutes of stoppage time to run.

12:06 PM BST

Mary Earps was player of the match

Earps and Daly celebrate victory

Mary Earps and Rachel Daly will be lining up in Saturday’s quarter-final – PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images

Mary Earps of England poses for a photo with her VISA Player of the Match award after the FIFA Women's World Cup

Mary Earps captures her moment for herself – Matt Roberts/Fifa via Getty Images

11:58 AM BST

Beth England on Lauren James’ red card

We all know Lauren is magic, she is our weapon and it’s a big loss for us but we can’t change that now.

We have an unbelievable squad and players who can fill in in that position and hopefully we can see her again in the tournament.

11:40 AM BST

England’s victory

Sets them up for a quarter-final tie against Colombia or Jamaica (who play tomorrow) on Saturday morning (in the UK), kick-off at 11.30am.

11:33 AM BST

The moment of victory

Chloe Kelly of England scores her team's fifth and winning penalty with a poerful right-foot shot

It’s that woman again: Chloe Kelly scores England’s winning penalty – Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

11:32 AM BST

Chloe Kelly talks to BBC One

It’s amazing. Anything that’s thrown at us, we’ve shown what we’re capable of. We dig deep as a group and believe in our ability and believe in what we’re being told to do We’ve been practising penalties a  lot and it’s working.  I walk up and want to score and think ‘I’m going to score’. Once I win that mental battle I’m good.. This team’s special. We did it at the Euros, the Finalissima and again here. It’s not about me. There’s more to come from this special team.

Nigeria players floored while England's are jubilant following Kelly's penalty to win it

England bounce back to win the shootout – REUTERS/Dan Peled

11:25 AM BST

Nice gesture from Kelly

To console Nnadozie and when the photographers tried to intrude on her disappointment with a close-up of her distraught face, she shooed them away.

11:23 AM BST

Tom Garry on England’s finisher

Chloe Kelly again! She struck the winner in the Finalissima shootout at Wembley, she scored the winner in the Euros final and she’s delivered under presser again.

Phew. England were poor tonight but they showed huge bottle in that shootout.

11:22 AM BST

Cue Sweet Caroline

England sneak through undeservedly but that’s football, Brianna. Four fine penalties after Stanway’s aberration at the start.

11:21 AM BST

Kelly to win it for England

Scores! Thumps it top left, through Nnadozie’s hands.

England win 4-2 on pens.

11:20 AM BST

Uchiebe to keep Nigeria in it

As the proverbial cucumber. Scores top right.

England 3 Nigeria 2 after four each. 

11:19 AM BST

Greenwood on the spot

Sends the keeper the wrong way and slots it bottom right.

England 3 Nigeria 1 

11:19 AM BST

Ajibade’s turn

Sneaks it down the middle to score. Player of the match converts.

England 2 Nigeria 1 after three each. 

11:17 AM BST

Daly puts the ball on the spot

Buries it top left.

England 2 Nigeria 0

11:17 AM BST

Alozie walks up

And blazes over!

England 1 Nigeria 0 after two pens each. 

11:16 AM BST

England for England

Nails it. Top right. Actually, more central than I thought.

England 1 Nigeria 0

11:15 AM BST

Desire steps up for Nigeria

Also misses. Same side. Hooks it wide

England 0 Nigeria 0

11:14 AM BST

Georgia Stanway walks up

And misses. Wildly to the left.

England 0 Nigeria 0

11:12 AM BST

Right – here we go

England to go first.

11:07 AM BST

Tom Garry on the penalties

You would imagine that Georgia Stanway, Chloe Kelly, Bethany England, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright and Katie Zelem will be in line to take some spot-kicks, probably in roughly that kind of order perhaps.

11:07 AM BST

120+3 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Kelly loses the ball after Bronze won it but then tore it back with a good tackle. To no avail as the ref blows for time and a penalty shootout.

11:05 AM BST

120+2 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Wiegman is waving her players forward, worried that they are sitting way too deep and almost demanding Nigeria attack them.

11:05 AM BST

120+1 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

The first of three minutes of added time begin with England sticking her head into the flying boots in her own box to win a necessary free-kick to relieve some pressure.

11:04 AM BST

119 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Greenwood chips it 40 yards to the penalty spot. England nods it on to the back post where Bright can’t stretch to reach it. She was offside in any case.

Zelem replaces Walsh. I’m convinced that switch should have come earlier. Positionally she was fine but lacked her usual snap, at least to these eyes.

England's Beth England laments a missed chance

England wins a header but can’t find Bright at the back post – AP Photo/Tertius Pickard

11:01 AM BST

118 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England free-kick on halfway. And they’re going to launch it.

11:01 AM BST

116 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

After a break for drinks and cramp treatment Oshoala pokes a shot through a crowded box that Earps saves smartly to her left.

10:59 AM BST

England’s Lauren James sent off for stamp against Nigeria

Lauren James’s sensational World Cup imploded against Nigeria as the Chelsea youngster was sent off for stamping on defender Michelle Alozie. Read the full story here.

10:57 AM BST

113 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria sub: Desire replaces Payne.

Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala (second right) attempts an overhead kick during extra time in the FIFA Women's World Cup, R

Oshoala tries her first bicycle kick – Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

10:55 AM BST

111 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Plumtre nutmegs England and launches the ball upfield. Bright wins a towering and vital header on halfway to prevent a free run at goal for Oshoala.

10:54 AM BST

109 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England are having to dig deep and dig in. Ordega gets free down the right but runs out of space before she can even try to execute a right-foot finish from the tightest of angles.

10:52 AM BST

107 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Ajibade and Ordega do a number on Daly with a sweet one-two which sends the blue-rinsed Ajibade to the byline to cross deep. Oshoala again goes for the bicycle kick and her taste for the spectacular is thwarted again by an England head.

10:50 AM BST

105 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Beth England replaces Lauren Hemp and goes up front with Kelly moving to the right wing.

10:48 AM BST

Half-time England 0 Nigeria 0

England continue to cling on. Repeated replays of the ‘shove’ by Bronze on Alozie make a more convincing case for a Nigeria penalty.

10:45 AM BST

103 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Earps tries to slow things down by takin her time over a goak-kick. But England are finding it hard to stop the tide because Kelly cannot find the adhesion to buy them some time. As soon as the ball goes up to her she is surrounded and her so far dodgy first-touch, plus the distance between her and the midfield, invite Nigeria back on to the front foot.

10:43 AM BST

101 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Oshoala tries a bicycle kick from a right-wing cross. She was deemed too close to Stanway, who got a good defensive header in, for it not to be reckless and she immediately apologises.

The referee waves the red card

James is sent off – Matt Roberts/FIFA via Getty Images)

10:40 AM BST

98 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Alozie has moved from right-back to left wing and makes a mess of a decent chance at the back post, slicing a left-foot effort wide under pressure from Bronze.

Alozie shoots wide

Alozie misses a golden chance – PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images

If this match were decided on points, like boxing, there would be no way back save for a knockout for England. They have been royally pumped here.

Tom Garry reports from Brisbane

England have never won a penalty shootout in a major women’s international tournament, losing on both of the previous occasions where that scenario has been needed. The most recent came in 2011’s World Cup against France, which France won 4-3, and England lost on spot-kicks by the same scoreline to Sweden in the final of 1984’s Euros.

10:37 AM BST

96 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Carter trebuchets it into the box but Ohale is there to head clear.

10:36 AM BST

95 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Bronze reads a pass astutely and picks it off down the right and storms into midfield. She knocks it inside to Stanway who switches it out to the left for Daly. Ordega shits her down and they tussle until England win a throw-in.

10:34 AM BST

93 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria shout for a penalty when Alozie is knocked over in the box by Bronze as they fought for a cross. Bronze barged her harder than Daly was hit by Ajibade. No penalty, like Daly’s.

Why is Wiegman so passive?

10:32 AM BST

92 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Carter ahs switched to left-back with Greenwood inside her and Daly in front. Hemp is wide right in a four but both she and Daly look cooked.

10:31 AM BST

91 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Ayinde, mission accomplished, is replaced by Echegine.

Sarina Wiegman, Head Coach of England, reacts during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 R

Don’t talk, listen: Wiegman addresses her troops – Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

10:28 AM BST

End of 90 minutes

England seemed less frazzled a player down but they need to find some incisiveness. James was frustrated by a terrific woman-marking performance by Ayinde, all over her like the proverbial rash all game, and perhaps that was the reason she snapped. It wasn’t a stamp but she trod on her on purpose. Wiegman should have hooked her earlier. She was playing poorly and could not find an answer to being marked at such close quarters.

10:25 AM BST

90+4 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Bang to rights.

James steps on Alozie

James is caught red-handed by the Var – Matt Roberts/FIFA via Getty Images

10:24 AM BST

90+2 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England, paradoxically, have calmed down since the red card and are exerting some control as they head for the relative safe harbour of extra-time if they can survive the danger of the last few minutes when they would be unlikely to have time to answer a Nigeria goal.

10:20 AM BST

90 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

We’ll have six minutes of stoppage time.

Luke Edwards reports from Brisbane

Oh dear oh dear, complete moment of madness from James who knew what she was doing there. Correct decision to give her a red card to putting her studs into the back of the Nigeria player lying on the floor. England are in real trouble now

10:19 AM BST

88 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

The red card twists Wiegman’s arm: Kelly replaces Russo as England switch to 4-4-1.

10:16 AM BST

James sent off for violent conduct

Not the first time an England No7 has been sent off at the World Cup. She stood on Alozie’s buttocks seemingly deliberately after they went down. She was yellow carded initially but that was amended to red after Var told the referee to take another look.

It was a daft thing to do. But for heaven’s make let’s not subject England’s most gifted female talent to the disgraceful abuse Beckham had to withstand after 1998 in a country whose public discourse veers cretinously from zero to hero mode over the course course of a few minutes. It was a rush of blood.

James fouls Alozie

As James got to her feet she planted her studs into Alozie’s backside – Matt Roberts/FIFA via Getty Images

10:15 AM BST

Var possible red card for James

She stood on Alozie’s buttocks seemingly deliberately after they went down. She was yellow carded initially but red seems certain now.

10:14 AM BST

83 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

The tide is all with Nigeria. It feels like a goal for them is imminent. England can’t find a moment to put their foot on the ball.

Luke Edwards reports from Brisbane

We have raved about Lauren James at this tournament but her lack of movement in this game has been a problem. Far too many slow, sideways and backward passes from the England team tonight. This is starting to get really nervous now. Quite why Wiegman has not changed any personnel, with less than ten minutes of the game remaining, I have no idea

10:12 AM BST

81 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Skin of the teeth stuff from England who are again beaten down the wing. Payne floods into the space between Daly and Greenwood and stands up a cross towards the penalty spot that Alozie can’t reach but no’ but just.

Ordega replaces Kanu for Nigeria while Wiegman keeps her subs benched.

10:09 AM BST

79 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

First real intervention from Osahola when Hemp’s pass is picked off and Kanu is sent down the right. Her deep cross loops over Earps and is headed back to the Barcelona striker from the back post but she blazes her right-foot half-volley heavenwards.

10:06 AM BST

77 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Good, reflex save from Nnadozie low but straight when Daly meets Greenwood’s corner with a near-post glancing header. Nigeria get enough bodies in the way to stop any sniff for England from the rebound.

10:04 AM BST

75 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Earps drinks deep then moistens the palms of her gloves with the water. She’s OK to continue now. England link some passes together and Hemp, James and Stanway combine to win a corner on the right.

10:03 AM BST

73 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Payne takes the corner and sticks it on Kanu’s head and she fires it wide even though there was barely a challenge on her. Stanway had it covered on the posy anyway. Earps needs treatment. I know not why.

Michelle Alozie of Nigeria and Lauren Hemp of England compete for the ball

Alozie beats Hemp in the air – Matt Roberts/FIFA via Getty Images

10:00 AM BST

70 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England can’t find a moment’s peace, a time to breathe when Nigeria push on and keep piling on the pressure. It’s wave after waver this past few minutes and now Nigeria have another corner.

09:59 AM BST

68 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, shifting England from side to side but Bright stands in the middle to head the cross from the left away when it comes.

Tom Garry reports from Brisbane

Nobody has been sent out to warm-up, from the England substitutes bench, for at least 15 minutes. It doesn’t seem like any changes are imminent.

09:56 AM BST

65 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

More vital work from Carter, this time pushing high to keep nipping at Ajibade and win a throw. England work it through Stanway to the left of the box and Hemp shimmies inside to open her body and shoot with her left. Nigeria block the shot out for a corner which Stanway sticks on the roof of the net.

09:53 AM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Brisbane

England are finding a semblance of control but they are not really creating anything in open play. Russo and Hemp are struggling and surely one of them will need to come off soon? I’ve been really, really disappointed with Russo’s performance. She looks flat footed and isn’t timing her runs properly. The distance between her and strike partner Hemp is making too easy to defend against.

09:53 AM BST

63 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

James stands up Plumptre, jiggles her shoulders to try to sell her a dummy but the full-back isn’t buying, watches the ball and takes it away when James drives at her.

09:52 AM BST

62 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

All the talk of England winning the World Cup after one good performance in three could be biting some very prominent pundits on the behind unless they find a higher gear.

09:50 AM BST

60 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Chance for Daly, arriving at the back post to meet a well-drilled corner routine. Stanway fizzed over the cross and Daly snuck in behind James to meet it with a right-foot volley that she skewed wide.

09:48 AM BST

58 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria send on their best player, the Barcelona goal machine Oshoala for Onumonu. Oh, joy.

09:47 AM BST

56 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Better: England have a free-kick on the left and Greenwood places it with precision on to the head of Russo who thumps her header wide. Should have scored.

09:46 AM BST

54 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Kanu flashes a right-wing cross through the six-yard box after burning past Greenwood. Bright juts manages to hold off Onumonu. England are being run ragged. Has uncomfortable echoes of watching both men’s and women’s teams in the past, an inability to think on their feet and adapt to the tactical shoeing they’re taking. That’s not to say they won’t get out of jail but it’s looking ominous at the moment.

Kanu meets the cross

Kanu heads on to the bar – AP Photo/Tertius Pickard

09:42 AM BST

52 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Bright heads a left-wing cross behind. Walsh is a class act but maybe England need a fully fit Zelem’s bite now in midfield. They can’t keep letting Nigeria get in down the left.

Kanu can’t keep the ball in at the back post from the corner.

09:40 AM BST

50 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Wiegman has told Stanway to push up and Daly to trust her instincts and Greenwood to join in the attacks more. James still can’t shake off Ayinde, though, even if she just managed to take the ball in a tight space and lay it off. England need her to get free and push up.

09:38 AM BST

48 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Daly hesitates then thinks, ‘Why not?’ and storms down the left to the byline to belt over a cross through the six-yard box that only needed an attacking touch.

09:37 AM BST

46 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria have started like a train and get in down the left again, in the space behind Bronze. Ajibade crosses and Kanu, under pressure from Daly, can’t keep her header down and it clips the bar.

09:26 AM BST

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09:25 AM BST

Luke Edwards’ half-time verdict

England finished the first half a hell of a lot better than they started it. They probably should have had a penalty too given there was not a clear and obvious error by the referee on the field when Daly was barged in the back with force. Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh have started to find little pockets of space and Nigeria have not been able to keep up the same frenetic pace they started the match in.

But this is a really stiff test for Sarina Wiegman’s side who need more from centre-forward Alessia Russo. Lauren Hemp has been the better of the two strikers but England’s fear of Nigeria’s pace on the counter means wing backs Rachel Daly and Lucy Bronze are wary of venturing too far forward. That is forcing the Lionesses to try to play through the middle too often. Big half time team talk for Wiegman and her coaching staff.

09:23 AM BST

The panel agrees it was a soft penalty

The more you see it, the more you see Rachel (Tom) Daly flop at the first brush.

09:22 AM BST

Half-time: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria have dominated the match. England have been out-generalled by Randy Waldrum and England seem disjointed and rattled. I didn’t think it was a clear-cut penalty but I’m doubtlessly in a minority. England need to get a grip and try to break the stranglehold of Nigeria’s woman-to-woman marking that is nullifying James.

England fans react with mouths agape as they watch England v Nigeria at Wembley

Worried England fans watch the first half at Wembley Boxpark – Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

09:19 AM BST

45+3 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Hemp is penalised for a foul on Ohale. Nigeria steal about 10 yards for the free-kick but the referee blows for half-time as soon as it’s taken.

09:18 AM BST

45+1 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Stanway pushes higher up the right and plays a one-two with Bronze that the England wing-back’s heavy touch knocks out for a goal-kick as she entered the box.

09:17 AM BST

45 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Fantastic sliding tackle by Alozie on Daly stops a thrust up the left.

Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway of England react after the penalty is cancelled

Walsh and Stanway watch the referee rescind her penalty decision – Chris Hyde/FIFA via Getty Image

09:16 AM BST

Luke Edwards on the ‘penalty’

That is a penalty all day long… It is an utterly ridiculous decision from the Var officials to get the referee to overturn her decision. It is also the latest in a long list of highly dubious Var interventions against England at this World Cup. That was not a clear and obvious error from the referee. After so many decisions went against England in the game with China – when they did not matter – this feels like it could far more costly.

09:15 AM BST

43 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Jess Carter, England’s best player so far, times her tackle on Ajibade perfectly then earns England a free-kick by getting in front from the throw-in.

Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie protests to referee Melissa Borjas about a penalty decision

Nnadozie protests the award of a penalty to England that was subsequently overturned after Var intervention – Zac Goodwin/PA Wire

09:13 AM BST

41 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England have another corner on the right. Greenwood bends the inswinger to the back post where it’s headed out to the 18-yard line. James, lurking for just that opportunity, pumps a right-foot volley over the bar. Speaking of hitting the bar:

Ashleigh Plumptre hits the crossbar

Plumptre cannons a rasping shot on to the crossbar – James Whitehead / SPP

09:10 AM BST

Tom Garry reports from Brisbane

The vast majority of the crowd here roared with approval when that VAR decision went Nigeria’s way. It’s clear the largest chunk of supporters here are backing Nigeria. They seem to have the local Australians’ support.

09:09 AM BST

38 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Hemp has the beating of Demehin on the outside but when she cuts inside to enter the box to centre from teh right. Demehin muscles back past her on her left shoulder and nips it behind.

Nnadozie punches Greenwood’s corner clear.

09:07 AM BST

35 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

I think it was the right decision and gives Nigeria the fillip to bomb forward and Bright needs to stand tall to block Ajibade’s shot from 12 yards. The ball runs to Uchiebe who looks nailed on to score … until Carter throws herself in front of the shot to turn it behind. Under the cosh here.

09:05 AM BST

No penalty

We don’t know why, other than it started outside the box and was pretty soft anyway. Daly bought the foul by stepping back into Ajibade.

09:03 AM BST

VAR check

The referee is sent to the screen to check whether the foul was initiated and largely committed outside the box.

09:02 AM BST

England penalty!

Daly goes down with Ajibade’s forearm at the top of her spine. A soft one as they jostled for a free-kick but a foul nonetheless.

09:01 AM BST

28 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Greenwood whips in the corner that is bundled out towards the spot where Daly meets it with the sweetest of volleys. Nnadozie saves low to her left. Had she scuffed it, it would possibly have gone in. Football cliches alert: ‘She hit it too well.’

Rachel Daly of England shoots at goal

Daly pirouettes to smash a volley at goal from a corner – Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

08:59 AM BST

25 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England looking to reassert some element of control and Carter’s deep cross from the right, which set up a James goal against China, reaches the Chelsea forward again who tries a roundhouse volley that clips Ayinde and goes out for a corner.

08:55 AM BST

23 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Apologies for a mistake – Earps saved Plumptre’s second effort. The BBC commentary is out of synch with the pictures, adding to some confusion.

Chance for Russo after a slip by Demehin. Arsenal’s new signing races on to the loose ball by the D and tries to arrow a shot into the bottom left corner but Nnadozie has it covered. Russo needed to go for more bend and send it out wider (initially).

08:51 AM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Brisbane

It’s fair to say that Nigeria are looking dangerous and England are not looking entirely comfortable when they have to defend. As we expected, the Lionesses will not be able to bully Nigeria physically and are going to have to rely purely on their football ability. Sarina Wiegman will not be very happy with the opening 15 minutes I don’t think. England have lacked any sort of goal threat and are being outplayed in midfield. Ashleigh Plumptre has hit the crossbar and been denied by a good save from Mary Earps. That woke the crowd up. England are struggling to get going here

08:51 AM BST

20 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

For all the hype about James … she’s had seven touches, struggling to find pockets and be found by her team-mates when she loses her dogged marker, Uchiebe.

08:49 AM BST

18 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

All Nigeria now. England totally under siege, unable for now to live with Nigeria’s hard running and clever movement, dropping into space and unafraid to use their array of feints to buy space after their tenacious midfield easily wins the ball back.

Kanu drifts out to the right to beat Daly then centres for Plumptre and the former Leicester full-back thunders a shot that beats Earps but crashes on to the bar. After more scrambled defending, the ball is worked back for Plumptre who flashes a shot that Earps saves well They’re getting closer by the minute.

Nigeria's Oluwatosin Demehin in action with England's Alessia Russ

Demehin beats Russo to the ball – REUTERS/Dan Peled

08:45 AM BST

15 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England look susceptible to the counter and need Greenwood to be on high alert to chase Onumonu down to concede a corner/ Nigeria bend over a pinpoint cross for Alozie’s late run from outside the box and she bullets a goalbound header that smacks Russo flush in the chops. England needed that block.

Michelle Alozie heads the ball hard at goal

Alozie powers a header goalwards – PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images

08:43 AM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Brisbane

Sorry for my late introduction to the live blog but I’ve been on crowd watch again. It’s largely an England supporting crowd and although there are lots of empty seats, the stadium filled up rapidly just before kick off. There are plenty of bars around Suncorp Stadium which means fans can stroll in just before the start. In fact, they are still arriving now.

The atmosphere, though, is largely non-existent. It’s very very quiet most of the time!

08:42 AM BST

13 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England defend the scorner solidly through Bronze and Stanway then try to break quickly with Bright’s long pass up the inside right. England are unlikely to do Nigeria’s defenders for pace in the way they made China’s look like carth-horses.

08:41 AM BST

11 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Ajibade gets in behind Bronze again. She’s got genuine wheels on her. The Atletico winger hangs over a deep cross that was arcing beyond the back post but Earps takes no risks, back-pedalling herself to palm it behind for a corner.

08:39 AM BST

9 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Carter shows her pace and strength when Ajibade slides the ball ahead and tries to pelt past, then Bright heads out the cross from the resulting throw-in.

08:38 AM BST

7 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Daly gives Hemp a ball over the top to chase into the left corner. Ohale stands strong and gets away with a shove in the small of the back to earn Nigeria a throw.

Stanway and Russo burst forward

Stanway is fouled in the opening minute – REUTERS/Dan Peled

08:36 AM BST

5 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Greenwood whips the corner deep from the right with her left. Nnadozie back-pedals and claws it away from Bromze and Bright’s back-post runs. Good, commanding decision.

08:34 AM BST

3 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

Nigeria, by the way, are in lime green, as shade that Thom Gibbs judged worthy of only 45th out of 64. I fear for that boy’s taste. England have a throw on the right. Passes not quite crisp enough yet. Bronze catapults it up the line for Hemp. Demehin heads it our for another which Nigeria see out for a corner rather than letting Hemp turn and cross.

08:31 AM BST

1 min: England 0 Nigeria 0

England kick off, playing from left to right in white shirts and royal blue shorts. Stanway is fouled while dribbling forward and England have the opportunity to sling a 45-yard free-kick into the box. Up go the centre-backs but Nigeria defend the tepid chip well.

08:28 AM BST

And speaking of Wiegman

Sarian Wiegman watches the national anthems

Sarina Wiegman puts her game face on – Naomi Baker/The FA via Getty Images

08:25 AM BST

The teams are out

Time for the national anthems, starting with England’s (sic).

08:25 AM BST

Wiegman’s final thoughts

We know [Keira is] an exceptional player so we’re happy to have her tonight. We didn’t talk about an ACL injury straight after. You all did. We said wait and 24 hours later we knew. It was good news. In rehab she has gone well and now she can start.

[Lauren] is very calm and grounded. We are in our bubble so we are talking about football all the time, our plans and how we want toe execute it.

08:14 AM BST

Tom Garry reports from Brisbane

The shooting practice for the England forwards down in front of us is seeing a much higher success rate than in the previous games, when there were a lot of wayward efforts in the warm-ups and the strikers hadn’t scored yet. Since the 6-1 win over China, confidence appears to have soared. Alessia Russo has just hit the bottom corner with three first-time strikes from the edge of the box in a row.

Alessia Russo, Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway of England warm up

England line up for shooting practice – Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

08:12 AM BST

Wiegman on complacency

What we have seen in this tournament is that nothing is easy. The growth of the game has shown in this tournament. We’ve not had an easy game at all and that’s what we expect [from Nigeria] – that it will be very competitive and we need to be at our best.

Everyone who plays us wants to beat us. That’s nothing new. What we have seen in this tournament is game is developing really quickly. The games have been very competitive. Nobody can be complacent because that’s inappropriate. It’s very tight.

England warm up routines on the pitch

England limber up at Brisbane Stadium – Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

07:54 AM BST

How to make an entrance

07:53 AM BST

Tom Garry reports from Brisbane

The FA’s chief executive Mark Bullingham and head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell are both here in Brisbane, among the senior FA staff attending this match. They, and the fans, have arrived at a stadium that is currently receiving a bit of a downpour of rain, but spirits remain high.

07:52 AM BST

Team news

England  Earps; Carter, Bright, Greenwood; Bronze, Walsh, Stanway, Daly; James; Hemp, Russo. 
Substitutes Hampton, Roebuck,Charles, Toone, Nobbs, Wubben-Moy, Morgan, Coombs, Kelly,England, Zelem, Robinson.

Nigeria  Nnadozie, Alozie, Ohale, Demehin, Plumptre; Ucheibe, Ayinde; Ajibade, Payne, Onumonu; Kanu. 
Substitutes Oluehi, Balogun,Ogbonna, Ebi, Oshoala, Oparanozie, Monday, Ordega, Echegini,Imuran, Okoronkwo.

Referee Melissa Borjas (Honduras).

07:47 AM BST

On Walsh’s rapid return

07:42 AM BST

Preview: Walsh returns

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the Round of 16 match from the Women’s World Cup between England and Nigeria, which starts with the news that Keira Walsh, who missed the thumping victory over China with a knee ligament injury, is fit and has been recalled to the starting XI by Sarina Wiegman, replacing Katie Zelem in the only change.

It is encouraging to see that the coach has stuck with her new formation, 3-5-2, proving that the best pure coaches of the Dutch school, or Cruyffian disciples – Van Gaal (though he and Cruyff fell out), Guardiola etc – can twist the template of 4-3-3 as and when circumstances demand. They looked far better with Russo and Hemp up front so it makes sense that Wiegman pushes ahead rather than drifting back to the comfort blanket of the tried and trusted.

Much of the build-up has had echoes of the men’s 1990 World Cup quarter-final against Cameroon and the lessons of pre-match complacency learnt on that day. England will certainly not be underestimating Nigeria who came through a very tough group at the expense of the Olympic champions Canada with draws against the Canucks and the Republic of Ireland and a startling, thrilling victory over the hosts, Australia.

Randy Waldrum, their campaigning head coach believes Nigeria, with star forward Asisat Oshoala “fit and ready to go” and Desire Oparanozie healthy to return after injury, is capable of reproducing the kind of game that shocked the Matildas at the same venue 11 days ago.

“You can see the talent is there,” Waldrum said. “I think Nigeria could become a world power if we start to do things properly and invest more in women’s football … like so many other nations need to be doing as well.”

“I have to give credit to the players. It’s something that’s inside them. It’s inside their DNA to compete,” he said. “Overcoming obstacles is what they’ve done for their careers.  It’s a challenge – we know what the top teams in the world have, and we’re aspiring to have those same things. But in the moment, we are where we are. It really comes down to trying to get the team organized and get the maximum out of each individual player and the talent they bring to the table.”

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